By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hundreds turn out for faith-based ‘Love Ceres’ work projects
Love Ceres painting
Painting the backside of one of the Ceres High School baseball dugout buildings as part of Saturday’s “Love Ceres” event are students Leilah Elsumeri, Peyton Vierra and Natalie Horton. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Approximately 220 persons volunteered a big chunk of their Saturday to help take the rough edges off of the city of Ceres.

“Love Ceres” volunteers donned work attire as they painted high school backstops, picked up trash in parks and on school campuses, spread bark at the Ceres Community Center, washed first-responder vehicles and performed a host of other good deeds.

Volunteers gathered at Whitmore Park at 8 a.m. where Ceres Lions Club members had worked beginning at 6 a.m. to produce 300 breakfast burritos before they scurried off to work projects all over Ceres.

Organizer Brandy Meyer and Ceres Mayor Javier Lopez spoke at kickoff gathering in the park before volunteers scattered about the town to work for the next three to four hours.

At the Fourth Street offices of the Ceres Chamber of Commerce and Meyer’s CPR & First Aid, volunteers assembled essential items into kits for women at the HAVEN Center (which now stands for Healthy Alternatives to Violent Environments.) Products like body wash, shampoo, journals and tissues were donated to the kits, some of which will be going to the Family Justice Center of Stanislaus. Beth Stochl headed up the project.

Volunteers included Ceres City Manager Alex Terrazas who picked up trash in the downtown Ceres district. Congressional candidate John Duarte jumped right into the work project of painting the backstops and dugout structures at the Ceres High School baseball/softball diamond.

Also busy at painting the backstops – built in 1974 – was CHS junior Geovanni Cimental.

“I just wanted to help, he said. “Painting isn’t really something I do but I kind of like it the few times I have done it. It feels great.”

The CHS project was overseen by Aaron Yanagi and Vice Mayor Bret Silveira.

At Harvest Presbyterian Church, volunteers potted plants to be distributed to be delivered to residents of community homes. Leaders of the project were Brandy Meyer and Pastor Jim Stohl.

Across the street, volunteers picked up trash and cleaned up the Mae Hensley Junior High School campus. Josh Helton and Pete Kirchhoff of Youth for Christ oversaw the work.

Students, led by project leader Ella Oliver, wrote encouraging messages in cards to hand out to staff members during National Teacher Appreciation Week; and installing shorter fencing around the grass area.

Pastor Jim Hanna was the project leader to pick up trash at various locations.

A popular work detail was the washing of first-responders’ vehicles, including fire trucks, ambulances, police cars and ambulances at the Ceres Fire Station. Pastor Ryan Guinn led the project.

Others who helped lead or contribute to the effort were Tim Giannosa, pastor of Big Valley Grace Community Church in Ceres, Pastor Jim Hanna of Grace Community Christian Church, Keith Meyer, Gary M. Condit, Ken Sylvia of Youth for Christ and Christopher Hoem and Anthony Sims of the city of Ceres.

Love Ceres Brandy Meyer
Brandy Meyer, who spearheaded Love Ceres 2022 with husband Keith, greets the 200 plus volunteers who turned out in Whitmore Park on Saturday.
Love Ceres
Volunteers included the unidentified girl at left, Amy Medina and Paula Redfern. - photo by Jeff Benziger
Geovanni Cimentel
Geovanni Cimentel paints the backstop at the Ceres High School baseball / softball diamond. - photo by Jeff Benziger
Alex Terrazas trash
Ceres City Manager Alex Terrazas was busy picking up trash from the landscaping on Fourth Street Saturday morning for Love Ceres. - photo by Jeff Benziger
Beth Stochl
Inaya Gill (left) and Andriana Tover (right) helped Beth Stochl sort items to assembly “Go Bags” which will be given to women who find shelter at the Haven Women’s Center in Modesto. The group assembled the bags of useful items at the Fourth Street offices of the Ceres Chamber of Commerce and Meyer’s CPR & First Aid. - photo by Jeff Benziger